‘Prometheus:’ Neither Fish, Fowl Or ‘Alien’

What I referring to is in interviews how Ridley Scott often says that he feels as if he’s taken the Aliens as far as he’s able–keeping in mind that Prometheus as originally written was firmly entrenched in the Alien universe, till Damon Lindelof joined the project and excised most of those elements from Jon Spaiths’ screenplay–yet he keeps throwing in ideas peripherally related to Alien, though not nearly enough to satisfy fans of those movies.

And while I hate to sound to sound cynical, it feels to me that he knows damn well that fans of the Alien franchise–hungry for new material–will see just about anything that has xenomorphs in it.

And I get that “Alien fatigue” may have set in and that Scott feels as if he’s taken the property as far as he possibly could.  That being the case, why not leave it alone and let someone else handle it; though admittedly the Alien sequels done by other directors have been uneven at best, with Aliens being the most watchable and Alien Vs. Predator: Requiem the least.

And while I wouldn’t call myself a fan of either Requiem or to a lesser extent, Alien: Resurrection, I’d rather see the movies embrace the material wholeheartedly and unashamedly, as opposed to the tentative way that Scott seemed to approach Prometheus, and how I am reasonably sure he’ll approach Paradise, its sequel, as well.

Though what’s really odd is that Ridley Scott intends to include Aliens in Paradise at all, which bothers me because, while Prometheus is a gorgeous to look at–it winds up being neither fish nor fowl.

Or maybe I am irritated over Vickers running in a straight line when the Juggernaut happened to roll in her direction.  Or how the pseudo-Facehugger not only survived decontamination in the Med-Pod, but somehow thrived.  Or…since showing is always preferred to telling, why don’t I just let CinemaSins give you a guided tour.

‘Late Phases’ Trailer

I know that this is going to sound odd, but I have a pressing need for Adrián García Bogliano‘s Late Phases to be a entertaining, well-done horror film, of the werewolf sub-genre.  For a start, I have seen Bogliano’s Here Comes The Devil, and it’s pretty mediocre.  I haven’t yet seen Cold Sweat–it’s currently on #Netflix, though for whatever reason I have had a only passing interest.

Late Phases has been getting quite a bit of good buzz, so that’s at least reassuring–then again, so did Here Comes The Devil, so I guess that I shouldn’t get my hopes up too much.

More recently, I have seen Annabelle and Ouija, neither of which meets my strict definition of what a horror film could–or should–be (which is that the film doesn’t necessarily have to be overtly gory, or even violent–though it helps–but it does have to be suspenseful, create a sense of tangible unease and/or discomfort, and make the viewer uneasy and perhaps most importantly, get the blood racing, pardon the pun).

Late Phases stars Ethan Embry–an uber-talented and extremely under-rated actor if there ever was one–and Nick Dimici (Stakeland) which makes me want to see it even more.

‘Dragon Age: Inquisition – The Breach’ Trailer

I’ve played the original Dragon Age, if I recall, for less than a half hour before I lost interest.  That’s more a commentary on me being really fickle more than anything else.

In other words, it doesn’t take much for me to lose interest in something.

For instance, if the control scheme is a bit unusual and takes adjusting to, then–more often than not–I’m done.

Hell, remember Defender?

I enjoyed watching people play it but never bothered myself.  Why?  Too many damn buttons to keep track of; not exactly what I would call intuitive.

That being said, I don’t recall Dragon Age looking anything like the animatic above, which implies that the gameplay may have changed from what I remember.

And while the Breach, where the monsters came from in Pacific Rim is an idea that I don’t think can be copyrighted, though it strikes me as sort of odd that the makers of the game–if the trailer is to believed–essentially took the concept, and just moved it to the sky, as opposed to the bottom of the ocean.

And they even call it the same thing.

Reasons For And Where A Potential Tron: Legacy Sequel Could Begin

Tron: Legacy movie poster

 

  • Demand

I am still reasonably sure that there will be a sequel to the 2010 Joseph Kosinski film, Tron: Legacy.  The original earned over $400 million worldwide, on a budget of $170 million.  When you take into account promotional costs–which I don’t have access to, but I’ll add on another $100 million, which sounds fair–then Tron: Legacy actually wasn’t that profitable, if at all.

But you have to also keep in mind that it earned over $400 million, which shows is that there’s definitely interest in the property, and demand for a potential sequel, with the caveat being if Disney can build on that demand.

  • Disney Has Few Homegrown Options of Its Own

Disney, as a movie studio, is in a pretty unique position.  There’s their Marvel Studios arm, which produced the recent box office hit, Guardians Of The Galaxy, as well as the upcoming The Avengers: Age Of Ultron, Ant-Man, and many others.

Then there’s Pixar, which creates cutting edge CGI features that manage to be extremely profitable, which isn’t easy to do (if you think so, take a look at DreamWorks SKG’s releases sometime, which if it weren’t for the success of How To Train Your Dragon 2, would be bleak).

And there’s also Disney Animation, which ever since John Lassiter, the head of Pixar, began running things, has become a hit-making machine with movies like  Wreck-It-RalphFrozen and most recently Big Hero 6 which has managed, domestically, to outgross Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar.

And I haven’t even gotten into Lucasfilm, which has the potential to be massive with the new Star Wars films they have in the pipeline.

So what becomes of Disney?  Are they a holding company for their more successful branches, or can they produce unique content of their own (Maleficent‘s success to this day is something of a mystery to me, as in I don’t see, considering how relatively niche the movie is in some ways, how it did as well as it did)?

I think that they can, and a sequel to Tron: Legacy would be a great way to show it.

Now on to where the story of Tron can go.

There’s a moment during Joseph Kosinski’s Tron: Legacy that could have defined the entire series, though it’s a relatively small (and unfortunately wasn’t built upon) and easy to miss if you weren’t paying attention.  When Quorra (Olivia Wilde) takes Sam (Garrett Hedlund) to see his father, Kevin (Jeff Bridges).  Kevin exlains that he brought in Tron, and created Clu to keep an eye on things when he couldn’t be on the Grid.

Flynn eventually uttered this line:  “It was a coup.  Clu had been corrupted.”

This is an important line because it leads to the most seminal event in the entire movie, which is Clu overthrowing Kevin and taking control, and if there’s a sequel it’s the perfect point for it to begin.

Because it leads to the question:  How did Clu become corrupted?  If you recall earlier in the movie, you meet Edward Dillinger (Cillian Murphy) who’s a star programmer at Encom.

The point being that Edward Dillinger is the son of Ed Dillinger (David Warner), who in the original movie was Sark though more importantly he’s the creator of the MCP (Master Control Program).

So, going to back to Tron: Legacy, the question of the day is:  How was Clu corrupted?  Let’s, for argument’s sake, say that it wasn’t a random event, but the work of Edward Dillinger!  This means that he’s not only aware of the Grid, but intends to take it over in his father’s name.

And how would he do so?

After corrupting Clu, he would then go about trying to create a new MCP which serves two goals:  It gives him control of the computer world, as well as, potentially, control of Encom.

But most importantly such a direction by Disney completes the journey began in Tron, continued in Tron: Legacy and brings it full circle, and toward what could be a very sastifying conclusion that pleases fans of the original film, its sequel, and others the world over.

And if Disney charts the course I have so carefully mapped, I hope that they also bring back Wendy Carlos, who’s talent, genius and ability defined the original film, and was sorely missed in the sequel.

Comforting Skin – Review

Comforting Skin poster

“”Comforting Skin” is a decent movie, yet why do I feel gyped?”

Derek Franson‘s Comforting Skin is actually a pretty decent thriller, though its biggest problem is that it advertises itself as one thing, when in actuality it’s something else.

If you look at the trailer, it feels to me like a horror movie in the vein of Psycho or Magic (or some other movie where someone loses their mind, and goes on a killing spree).  As if that weren’t interesting enough, her tattoo talks to her (voiced by Victoria Bidewell, who also plays ‘Koffie’).

In theory it sounds like a great movie, that is till you actually see it, when it becomes fairly obvious that Comforting Skin, while a thriller, isn’t a horror movie.  Horror-adjacent maybe, but a horror movie?  Not at all.

Koffie is a single woman who who lives with a friend, Nathan (Tygh Runyan) whom she appears attracted to, though she doesn’t let on.  Nathan is an actor, which is fitting because his hair looked like he was in an Off-Broadway production of Streets Of Fire (which is a bit unfair though it was distracting as hell).

Bidewell is a pretty actress, though not incredibly so.  She makes up for being somewhat conventionally attractive by being very bold, and unafraid of nudity in service of the story.  It was refreshing to see, especially for a woman that has a few curves and doesn’t look anorexic.

Koffie was feeling a bit insecure, after going to clubs night after night, yet having no one to show for her efforts.  Seeking to shake things up, she gets a tattoo and hopes that it’s the beginning of a change.

And it is, though not of the sort she expected; which leads to the biggest problem with Comfortable Skin–besides not being a horror film, despite coming off as one in the trailer and the poster–namely that the whole tattoo subplot is unnecessary to the movie.  You could excise it like an unwanted growth, and things would unfold pretty much the same.

Which is a pity because the last thing that I recall seeing about tattoos that drove people to murder was the X-Files episode, Never Again.

So if want to see some killer tattoos, I guess I’ll have to watch it again.

 

 

Comfortable Skin is currently on Netflix.

The (Un)necessary Remake Dept: DeepStar Six

No, DeepStar Six, isn’t the latest Ultramarionation feature from Jamie Anderson, but a undersea horror movie from Sean Cunningham (Friday the 13th) that was followed in quick succession by George P. Cosmatos’ Leviathan, and culminated five months later in James Cameron’s far superior The Abyss.

DeepStar Six revolves around a US Navy mission to place an undersea missile sled on the ocean floor; an action that only makes sense when you take into account that the United States was approaching the end of the Cold War with the Soviet Union.

Dr. Van Gelder (Marius Weyers) is there to ensure that the missile platform is built before they leave the base, the time for which is rapidly approaching.

Unfortunately, the project is behind schedule, so he’s doesn’t have time to putter about.

The area where he choose to place the sled is suspected of having caverns underneath it, which Scarpelli (Nia Peoples) wants to take time to explore, though Dr. Gelder isn’t interested.  Sure, properly surveying the area could have saved them quite a bit of trouble, but what specialist worth their salt let’s safety concerns trump completing a project on time.

Which shouldn’t be a surprise considering one of their own crew, Snyder (Miguel Ferrer, who if James Spader was unavailable to play Ultron in the upcoming The Avengers: Age of Ultron, should have been on speed dial) is fraying at the seams and should have been evacuated to the surface weeks ago.

And speaking of Ferrer, he’s easily the most convincing character in the entire movie which is why it’s such a pity that he so explosively loses it toward the end.

Another awesome addition to the movie is someone whom you never see, but who’s presence is felt throughout the entire movie, and that’s the awesome score by Harry Manfredini (who’s theme for War Of The Worlds: The Second Invasion has to be one of the best television themes EVER.

Seriously.  It’s that good.

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‘Chappie’ Trailer

Don’t get me wrong, I think Neill Blomkamp is probably one of the most visually innovative directors working today.  His films, despite taking place in an undefined future, always have a worn, grimy, lived-in look that’s almost the polar opposite found in other science fiction movies.

Almost the anti-Kubrick, if you will and I for one really appreciated the thoughtfulness he brings to each movie.

That being said, he also has a tendency to lay the moralizing on a bit thick.  I didn’t notice it in District 9, his first film, because his visuals were pretty stunning.

Though by his second movie, Elysium, they weren’t enough to distract from sometimes heavy-handed storytelling.  On top of that, a few too many things happened not because of any particular logic, but because the script needed them to.

Like, why didn’t Elysium have some sort of satellite-based defensive/offensive systems?  We’re actually working on such things now, so it would have been within the (relatively) realistic framework of the rest of the film.  Instead they used operatives planetside, such as Kruger (Sharlto Copley), to shoot down ships from Earth.

It was sort of odd, and was made worse by Blomkamp never explaining why that was the case.

His latest film is Chappie, which is the story of a Number 5–like robot that appears capable of learning, and how that changes the world around it.

It’s not a new story, and visually Blomkamp approaches it with the combination of what I like to call ‘high tech squalor’ found in his prior movies, though I hope the story is handled with a lighter touch.